Utricularia purpurea
purple bladderwort

Utricularia purpurea

Utricularia purpurea
Utricularia purpurea
Photos Courtesy Renee Brecht
Britton & Brown
Botanical name: Utricularia purpurea
Common name: purple bladderwort
Group: dicot
Family: Lentibulariaceae
Growth type: forb/herb
Duration: annual, perennial
Origin: native
Plant height: most of plant is submersed, up to 3'; up to 2-6" above water
Foliage: leaves are submersed, and are in whorls of 507
Tiny bladders originally thought to float the plant actually trap and digest very small invertebrates, opening when trigger hairs are disturbed and suddenly sucking in water and any invertebrates (i.e., they are carnivorous). Digestion takes approxiamately 15 minutes to 2 hours. The "bug soup" is then extracted into the stem, clearing out the bladder's vaccuum and resetting the trigger hairs.

Mary Treat of Vineland, an early female scientist, did much research on Utricularia  and was one of the first scientists to suspect that the bladders were actually traps for tiny creatures rather than air flotation devices.
Flower: 3/8" pink to lavendar
Flowering time: mid July to September
Habitat: aquatic plant of quiet shallow waters
Range in New Jersey: local through the Pine Barrens and outliers
Heritage ranking, if any: S3, LP, HL